Tattoos: The Mark of Self Expression

A mountain landscape similar to that showcased on Sailor Sean Murphy’s bicep.


Tattoos began almost 6,000 years ago and now the United States has over 20,000 tattoo parlors. In 2012, 45 million people in America have been inked according to the History of Tattoos website.


“It’s almost like you are out of place if you don’t have tattoos now.”


In the Pew Research study “Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change,” it was suggested the number for those with tattoos, in the 18 to 29 age group, is higher. The percentage of millennials sits at 40.  

The trend of permanent self expression is now showcased throughout the popular media. Kylie Jenner, David Beckham, Angelina Jolie, Ariana Grande, Russell Brand, Johnny Depp, Miley Cyrus and countless other, high profile celebrities showcase their ink to the public.

Blindspot, a television series released in 2015, exemplifies the movement of tattoos to mainstream life. The plot of the show revolves around a heroine, covered from head to toe, with tattoos.

“It’s almost like you are out of place if you don’t have tattoos now,” Sean Murphy, a twenty-two year old Sailor in the U.S. Navy with a completed half sleeve, said.

After showing the rolling mountain landscape on his bicep, Murphy went on explaining the diminishing counterculture. He said, “[tattoos] used to be frowned upon by society because only tattoo artists and biker gangs had them. Not just anyone.”

Now artists see repetitive tattoo requests with the surge of design share websites like Pinterest and the increased popularity of Instagram and Twitter social media platforms. Jeana Jane, a tattoo artist at Traditional Tattoo in San Luis Obispo, promoted her own repetitive, popular designs with a $100 dollar special for a promotional event earlier in April.

Murphy proceeded with, “Tattoos are getting bigger and bigger [in popularity]. They look amazing. And after you get one, you just wanna keep getting more and more.”

Tattoos are even considered a form of self expression and are protected from criminal law in the ‘free speech’ clause of the U.S. Constitution. So, other than age, there are not many legal statutes that prohibit body art.

According to the “My Body is Not My Resume Campaign,” the highest percentage of tattooed staff is within the government itself. The United States Military wins the prize with civilian agriculture workers trailing them in numbers, for the workers with the most tattoos.

The ten most tattooed cities in the United States, according to Medermis Laser Clinic, are Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Richmond, Virginia; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Honolulu, Hawaii; Kansas City, Missouri; and Los Angeles, California.


Made by Jezzia Smith

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